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Jehovah’s Witnesses: Can you get a transfusion if it’s your own blood being transfused?

My 12 year old son has a friend (“Levi”) in sixth grade who is a Jehovah’s Witness and they were talking about your doctrine against blood transfusions. Levi said that if he expected (in the future) to require a transfusion, he would begin to donate blood (pint at a time) until a blood bank had accumulated a sufficient quantity to perform the transfusion.
In other words, he would get a transfusion, but all the blood would be his own (original) blood. Levi says that is OK. But I never heard about that. Would the Watchtower allow you to do that?
Also, on a totally different topic, we have rattle snakes where I live. The neighbor had one on his driveway last summer!
If you get bit, the first thing you want to do is cut a plus (or X) symbol over the bite mark and suck out the blood-poison mixture.
If your son or daughter was bitten by a venomous snake, would the Watchtower prohibit you from sucking/spitting out the poison? (This is based Acts 15:29 & the Jehovah’s Witness “collective conscience,” etc.)
So if you were in a situation where you simply didn’t know what the WTS would permit, do they have some kind of an emergency hotline number (I mean for serious spiritual conundrums like the poisonous snake issue I described)?
Or would you act on your own thinking, thereby taking the risk of violating Watchtower rules?
Smiling JW: To answer your question, I do not identify myself with any particular denomination of Christianity. However, if I had to pick one closest to me, I would say conservative/independent Baptist. I have just a few (minor) disagreements with some of their doctrines.


  1. That’s a really good question. My uncle is a Jehovah’s witness. I’ll have to ask him.
    He has already violated some of their rules.

  2. No. The command at Acts 15:19,20 still are upheld even with our own blood. This is not Watchtower ideology by scriptures. (see below) the Watchtower, as you call it, only naturally of course, abides the scriptures. Maybe that is what you find frustrating.
    Preoperative autologous blood donation is not accepted by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Blood should not be stored but “pour out as water to the ground” Deuteronomy 12:16, 24; 15:23 Leviticus 17:11, 13 The soul of the flesh that is in the blood should be returned to Jehovah.
    (Acts 15:19-20) Hence my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
    You have a lot of “what ifs”
    Please answer Secularly Speaking’s question as a Jehovah’s Witness I would be intrigued in your answer since I answered yours.
    Nina: The command to not eat blood was pre-kosher. Noah was given the command after the deluge. So the Bible has been insistant from abstaining from blood since humans were given the command that meat may be given as food.
    (Genesis 9:3-4) Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for YOU. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to YOU. Only flesh with its soul–its blood–YOU must not eat.
    If you say to obey the command you would have to 100% remove every bit of blood then why would God gave Noah the command to eat meat but not it’s blood? Are you saying that God was being unreasonable with his command to Moses?
    No. God told Noah to drain the blood from the animal that was reasonably sufficient.
    I think you need to study this further.

  3. Rustic what denomination of Christianity are you affiliated with? Your profile says you are Christian.
    Secondly, is it Christian to interrogate Jehovah’s Witnesses and their Watchtower with tones of derision than promoting your own faith – what ever one it is.
    We do not know anything about your faith, surely you will be proud to say. And at least Jehovah’s Witnesses would have fairness of knowing the faith of the person that repeatedly interrogates questions at them.

  4. No they can not. I will go and see if I can find their reasoning on this one but I have dug for it before and it is deeply buried in the archives of the Watchtower somewhere. I do remember asking this when I was a young girl and a Witness and the answer was an emphatic no.
    Something to the effect that once the blood leaves your body it is g=belonging to Jehovah or some such thing.
    I would like to see where in Acts it says you can transfuse blood “fractions”
    BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS SECRETS OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: 12 Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses on The Use of Blood
    1. Does the Watchtower teach that “organ transplants” and “tissue transplants” can be acceptable to Jehovah’s Witnesses without violating Biblical principles?
    “The Witnesses do not feel that the Bible comments direction on organ transplants; hence, decisions regarding cornea, kidney, or other tissue transplants must be made by the individual Witness.” –How Can Blood Save Your Life?, 1999, p. 28 (View PDF of this Page)
    2. Does the Watchtower admit that “Blood is an organ of the body, and a blood transfusion is nothing less that an organ transplant.”–Awake! August 22, 1999, p. 31? (View PDF of this Page)
    “When doctors transplant a heart, a liver, or another organ, the recipient’s immune system may sense the foreign tissue and reject it. Yet, a transfusion is a tissue transplant. Even blood that has been ‘properly’ cross matched can suppress the immune system.” –How Can Blood Save Your Life?, 1999, p. 8 (View PDF of this Page) .
    3. If blood is an “organ” of the body and “nothing less” than a “tissue transplant” which Jehovah’s Witnesses accept, why do they still reject blood transfusions?
    4. Are Jehovah’s Witnesses told by the Watchtower that accepting whole blood or a transfusion of any of the four primary components of blood (i.e., red cells; white cells; platelets; plasma) constitutes a violation of God’s Law on blood?
    “Witnesses refuse transfusions of whole blood or of any of its four primary components.” –The Watchtower, June 15, 2004, p. 22 (View PDF of this Page)
    “Today, most transfusions are not of whole blood but of one of its primary components: (1) red cells; (2) white cells; (3) platelets; (4) plasma (serum), the fluid part….Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that accepting whole blood or any of those four primary components violates God’s law.”–The Watchtower, June 15, 2000, p. 29 (View PDF of this Page)
    5. Why then are Jehovah’s Witnesses told that all of the components that make up blood plasma are acceptable to take –even though whole plasma transfusions are not?
    “The Main Components of Blood – Plasma: about 55 percent of the blood. It is 92 percent water; the rest is made up of complex proteins, such as globulins, fibrinogens, and albumin.”–Awake!, October 22, 1990, p. 1 (View PDF of this Page)
    “Witnesses’ religious understanding does not absolutely prohibit the use of components such as albumin, immune globulins, and hemophiliac preparations.”–How Can Blood Save Your Life?, 1999, p. 27 (View PDF of this Page)
    (Note: “Hemophiliac preparations” are made from “fibrinogens.” See Academic American Encyclopedia, vol. 17, p. 210 – View PDF of this page)
    6. Does the Watchtower reason that fractions derived from primary blood components can be acceptable to Jehovah’s Witnesses on the basis that “plasma proteins (fractions) move from a pregnant woman’s blood to the separate blood system of her fetus.”–The Watchtower, June 15, 2004, p. 30? (View PDF of this Page)
    “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses accept injections of a blood fraction, such as immune globulin or albumin? Some do….some substances from the plasma cross into the fetus’ circulation. Do plasma proteins, such as immune globulin and albumin? Yes, some do.”–The Watchtower, June 1, 1990, p. 30-31? (View PDF of these Pages)
    7. If factors of blood components are acceptable to Jehovah’s Witnesses on the basis that plasma factors cross from mother to baby in the womb, why does the Watchtower claim that transfusions of white blood cells are unacceptable–given the research that white blood cells pass from mother to baby in the mother’s milk?
    “The most important members of the white cell family are the granulocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes.”–Encyclopedia Americana International Edition, vol. 4, 1999ed. (View PDF of this page)
    “Both T- and B-lymphocytes are present in the human milk and colostrum and are part of the immunologic system in human milk.”–Breastfeeding – A Guide for the Medical Profession, 4th edition, by Ruth A. Lawrence (Mosby – Year Book, Inc 1994), p. 154 (View PDF of this page)
    8. Does the Watchtower claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses disallow the use of autotransfusion (having their own blood stored for later use) because they believe that once blood is out of the body it should be disposed of?
    “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses allow the use of autologous blood (autotransfusion), such as by having their own blood stored and later put back into them?…Jehovah’s Witnesses, though, DO NOT accept this procedure. We have long appreciated that such stored blood certainly is no longer part of the person. It has been completely removed from him, so it should be disposed of in line with God’s Law: ‘You should pour it out upon the ground as water.’-Deuteronomy 12:24” –The Watchtower, March 1, 1989, p. 30 (View PDF of this Page)
    9. Why then are hemophiliac Jehovah’s Witnesses told that it is not a violation of God’s blood Law to take transfusions of Factor VIII pooled from stored blood?
    “…some 70 million units of concentrated Factor VIII are imported from the United States and are used to treat British haemophiliacs. Each batch of Factor VIII is made from plasma that is pooled from as many as 2,500 blood donors.”–The Watchtower , June 15, 1985, p. 30 (View PDF of this Page)
    “Witnesses’ religious understanding does not absolutely prohibit the use of components such as…hemophiliac preparations….”–How Can Blood Save Your Life?, 1999, p. 27 (View PDF of this Page)
    “What, however, about accepting serum injections to fight against disease, such as are employed for diphtheria, tetanus, viral hepatitis, rabies, hemophilia, and RH incompatibility? This seems to fall into a ‘gray area.’…their conscience would permit such.”–The Watchtower, June 15, 1978, p. 30-31 (View PDF of these Pages)
    10. Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses permit the use of Factor VIII derived from stored blood, why does the Watchtower claim that donating one’s blood violates God’s Law?
    “…since God’s Word indicates that it is wrong to take a blood transfusion, it is also wrong to give one’s blood for transfusion.” –The Watchtower, September 15, 1961, p. 561 (View PDF of this Page)
    11. If the penalty for violating God’s Law on blood requires the death of the person, why did Jehovah let the Israelite people who violated His Blood Law live at 1 Samuel 14:31-34? If God intended His command to “abstain…from blood” in Acts 15:28-29 to apply to human blood transfusions (rather than just prohibiting the eating of blood from sacrificial animals), why is there no mention of blood transfusions anywhere in the Bible? When we consider the fact that evidence exists for the practice of blood being transferred from a healthy person to an old or sick person as early as “two thousand years before Christ,” why is Scripture silent about this practice and only mentions the physical eating of blood?
    “Blood transfusion makes its entre’e – The idea of using blood from a health person to transfer youth and vitality to an old or sick one is very ancient. It existed in Egyptian medicine as early as two thousand years before Christ. Similar speculations are found in classical antiquity, as with Ovid: Draw only the swords and quick, the changed blood drains from his body – I fill his veins with the younger…” –The Illustrated History of Surgery, by Knut Haeger, 1988, 1990ed., p. 135 (View PDF of this Document)
    confused? Yea, me too!

  5. I was a JW’s for many years and was taught “NO” they cannot even accept their own blood as a transfusion; not even saving it pre-op for surgery. They are taught not to accept even their own blood for any transfusions.
    I had major surgery when I was a witness and because I was anemic the surgery took much longer, like 6 hours instead of 1.5 hours because they had to go in through little incisions rather than just going directly through a large incision through my abdomen. There were witnesses and many doctors (and interns) around my bed while I was going through the paperwork. At the time I felt I was doing the right thing, but looking back it would have been ok to have taken a blood transfusion because I wound up still losing a lot of blood, but just not as much because the doctors had to work 4 times longer than normal on me.
    The answer is NO.

  6. No, they cannot. They do not follow Biblical counsel with this matter. Their Governing body members dictate this. They clearly misunderstand the Old Testament Kosher laws.
    They should not eat meat then or fat. It is impossible to remove all the blood from the meat. They honestly believe this is something what God is asking from them, but in real life it is something what their organization has made up

  7. Actually Nina, God gave Noah the command to not eat blood of the meat. This was before the Kosher Law existed.
    If it is impossible to remove all the blood from meat and this was important then every trace be removed then why was God giving Noah the command to eat meat but not the blood?
    Not eating fat was Kosher law but the Law Moses is no longer applying to Christianity. But in the Christian scriptures of Acts 15:19,20 is where Paul still says that the blood law still applies to Christians. Abstaining from blood is among abstaining from idolatory and fornication – so it is pretty serious. Smiling is right, you need to go back to school on this since from the very start blood has been sacred as God says the soul of the flesh is in it and should be returned to God.
    Abstain from Blood
    Pre-Law of Moses
    Genesis 9:3,4 “Abstain from blood, soul of the flesh in the blood, spill it to the ground”
    Mosaic Law
    Leviticus 17:11-13 “Abstain from blood, soul of the flesh in the blood, spill it to the ground”
    Deuteronomy 12:23-24 “Abstain from blood, soul of the flesh in the blood, spill it to the ground”
    Christian Law
    Acts 15:20,29 “Continue abstaining from blood”

  8. The Watchtower Society specifically addressed the issue of autologous blood donation in the Watchtower magazine, October 15, 1959, p. 640:
    “Consequently, the removal of one’s blood, storing it and later putting it back into the same person would be a violation of the Scriptural principles that govern the handling of blood.”
    However, at that time, the organization’s prohibition on blood included whole blood and all blood fractions.
    “We are told that it takes one and a third pints of whole blood to get enough of the blood protein or “fraction” known as gamma globulin for one injection. And since from the foregoing it must be admitted that such use of human blood is highly questionable, what justification can there be for the use of gamma globulin? Further, those interested in the Scriptural aspect will note that its being made of whole blood places it in the same category as blood transfusions as far as Jehovah’s prohibition of taking blood into the system is concerned. – See Leviticus 17:10 – 14; Acts 15:20, 28, 29.” (Awake! 01/08/54 p. 24)
    The use of albumin was also banned:
    “While this physician argues for the use of certain blood fractions, particularly albumin, such also come under the Scriptural ban. In fact, these fractions are being used not only by physicians but also by food processors, and so it would be well to note the labels on such products to see if they contain any blood substances or fractions. When in doubt, it would be best to do without.” (Awake! 09/08/56 p. 20)
    However, since the Watchtower lifted the ban on albumin and other blood components in 1982:
    “While these verses are not stated in medical terms, Witnesses view them as ruling out transfusion of whole blood, packed RBCs, and plasma, as well as WBC and platelet administration. However, Witnesses religious understanding does not absolutely prohibit the use of components such as albumin, immune globulins, and hemophiliac preparations; each Witness must decide individually if he can accept these.” (Awake 06/22/82 p. 25)
    and once again revised their position (in a “Questions from Readers” article in The Watchtower June 15, 2000), allowing secondary components of blood to be used, and leaving the decision concerning the use of fractions of any “primary” components to the individual:
    “…when it comes to fractions of any of the primary components, each Christian, after careful and prayerful meditation, must conscientiously decide for himself.”
    then, I would assume that individual Jehovah’s Witnesses are permitted to store the allowed fractions of whole blood for their later use.
    I, for one, am so thankful that the Watchtower Society is finally rethinking and revising their policy against blood transfusion. The May 22, 1994, issue of Awake! magazine depicting 26 children “Who Put God First” and died as a result of the old Watchtower policy absolutely sickened me.


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